Risk of Auto Accidents Much Higher in Rural Areas, Study Shows
So much for the fear of conquering the big bad city, a new study shows that cities may actually be safer.
A main finding of the study was that despite public perception to the contrary, generally rural areas – not urban – bear a disproportionate amount of the injury-related mortality risk in the United States.
The study published recently in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, which analyzed nearly 1.3 million injury deaths from 1999 -2006 across all 3,141 United States counties, found that motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of injury death, and the number of these crashes increased in rural areas. However, it also showed that the homicide death rate decreased as counties became more rural.
“Homicide rates are higher in cities, and people think of those more emotional and sensationalized dangers, but the risk of motor vehicle accidents and machinery accidents is much higher in rural areas,” Sage Myers, MD, MSCE [Masters of Science in Clinical Epidemiology], an author of the study, told the Los Angeles Times.
Statistics showed that the risk of serious injury resulting in death was approximately 20 percent lower in urban areas than in most rural areas. Although findings showed homicide risk was greater in the city than in the country, the “magnitude of homicide-related deaths, even in urban areas, is outweighed by the magnitude of unintentional injury deaths, particularly those resulting from motor vehicles.”
The study found that the risk of the motor vehicle crash death in the most rural areas is two times that in the most urban areas and factors likely to contribute to that heightened risk included:
- Speed of travel
- Increased risk taking
- Adherence to traffic laws
- Distance to medical care
Overall, the study concluded that a greater emphasis on the elevated safety risks outside of large US cities is needed along with a new perception of urban living as a relatively safe experience.
Whether you live in an urban or a rural area, aggressive or careless driving is a public safety concern. If you have been injured in an accident due to another driver’s negligence, an experienced personal injury firm can help you to pursue the maximum compensation for your injuries. Please contact us if you would like a free case evaluation.